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Giants vs. Eagles 2015, Week 6: Five things to watch

Key things to watch Monday in Giants vs. Eagles.

Will Odell Beckham play Monday? Pre-game warm-ups will tell the story.
Will Odell Beckham play Monday? Pre-game warm-ups will tell the story.
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

What are the keys to victory Monday night when the New York Giants (3-2) face the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) in a key NFC East game? Here are five things to watch.

Will Odell Beckham Jr. play?

That, of course, is the BIG question. Beckham didn't practice this week after feeling what head coach Tom Coughlin called "a little tug" on his hamstring last week against the San Francisco 49ers. Beckham said last week that he and the team "won't really be able to tell until Monday" if he would be able to play.

Beckham will most likely try to warm up in the hours before Monday's game. If he warms up OK, he will play. If he doesn't, he won't. That seems to be the expectation in other corners, not just here at BBV, as well.

ESPN's Dan Graziano wrote this about Beckham's chance to play Monday:

Beckham showed the Giants enough in limited work in Sunday's elongated walkthrough to convince them he at least had a chance of playing in the game.

But he's still not a sure thing to play. The Giants will monitor Beckham closely Monday during pregame warmups and won't be taking any chances with their superstar playmaker. With temperatures expected to be in the 40s throughout the game, the Giants are concerned about the possibility of weather causing Beckham's hamstring a problem, and they could hold him out of the game if they believe he's at risk of injuring it further and missing more than this one game.

I have thought all along that Beckham would play tonight against the Eagles. I still think he will be in the lineup, even if it is only for a limited number of snaps.

Eagles' edge rushers

A few days ago, we looked at how Philly edge rushers Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham could cause headaches for the Giants. The Giants have only two tight ends on the roster, so we might see a lot of either Dallas Reynolds or Bobby Hart as a "jumbo" tight end to help Ereck Flowers and Marshall Newhouse. We are also certain to see a heavy dose of shotgun, as well as a continuation of the quick, rhythm passing the Giants have been utilizing to cover the pass blocking struggles of their offensive tackles.

Absences of Devon Kennard, Prince Amukamara

While everyone obsesses over the possible absence of Beckham from the offense, linebacker Devon Kennard and cornerback Prince Amukamara won't play on the defensive side of the ball. Those are huge losses for the Giants.

Without Kennard to set the edge of defense last week, the 49ers ran for 124 yards against the Giants, the first time a team has rushed for more than 88 yards against New York this season. Kennard, of course, is also the Giants' best pass-rushing linebacker and the one true play-maker in that group.

Amukamara has seven passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble. He also excels in run support, and is second on the team with 32 tackles. Jayron Hosley, at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, can't be expected to provide the same physicality against the run as the 6-foot, 200-pound Amukamara.

If Jon Beason, Robert Ayers, Jonathan Casillas and George Selvie are able to play that will help. Kennard and Amukamara, though, will be missed.

Hey, umm, "green" means "go"

Yeah, maybe it's a little weird -- OK, it is weird -- that everyone on the planet except Tom Coughlin calls it the "red zone" when you have the ball inside your opponents' 20-yard line. Coughlin, of course, calls it the "greez zone." Why? Well, because "green" means "go."

It would be nice if the Giants' offense got the memo. The Giants are just 7-of-19 (36.84 percent) in scoring touchdowns in the "green zone" this season. That's 29th in the league, and that isn't going to cut it. Kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns, or turning the ball over with a chance to score, is a recipe for losing games.

"Run the dang ball, Bert" ... er Ben 

One of the best ways to quiet the raucous crowd at the Linc will be to generate first downs and hold onto the football. The running game can help the Giants do that, if they can establish at least some sembalance of it. That also could tilt time of possession to the Giants. That particular stat is one Chip Kelly doesn't give a hoot about, but Tom Coughlin does. And he should. Especially in a game against a team that likes to play fast-paced offense the way the Eagles do.

The Giants are 29th in the league with an average 3.5 yards per carry. They don't have a blocking tight end. They have an inexperienced fullback. They have Marshall Newhouse playing right tackle instead of Will Beatty, who happens to excel as a run blocker. As much as Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Andre Williams all bring desirable qualities to the table, the Giants don't have a true stud featured running back.

These are all legitimate reasons why the Giants have not run the ball consistently, and why they seem unable to rely on the run when they absolutely could use one. If offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the Giants can figure it out, though, it will be a big boost on Monday night. You just can't throw the ball 54 times and run it only 20 every single week.